If you have found your way here you need to simplify your life, organize your surroundings, save some money, or all three. I will share things we have done in our own quest to improve these areas. I will also include tips and ideas that we have not done ourselves, but may be helpful for you. I will add photos where possible and I will try to keep the posts short and simple so you can follow the tips easily. Put the tips into place and you will start to see and feel the change.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see my Amazon Store that is full of books and products to help you simplify, organize and save.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

12 Ways to Save on Electricity Costs

I received my electric bill last week. It was $281! I don’t know what the average family of 4 pays these days, but this is a crazy amount for us. We are two adults only and we have been obsessed with saving electricity to help save money for a few years now. We had an average bill between $125 and $175 for a long time. It got to $210 in August because of air conditioning. We had heard that rates were going up…but this is excessive. So, we are going to be even more aware where we can. Here is a list of a few simple things you can do around the house to save electricity. We are doing most of them, but will be doing more. Some may seem simple, but you may not have thought of them or put them into everyday use. Try just a few! Add your own in the comments! 1. Turn the thermostat down on the hot water heater and be sure it is wrapped with an insulation blanket made for hot water tanks. Use a timer and heat when needed. Turn off when on vacation. 2. Use hot water less by taking shorter showers, using cold water wash for laundry, and making sure the dishwasher is full before running it (we don’t have one). Also, skip the heated dry cycle on a dishwasher and let the dishes air dry inside the dishwasher. 3. Do not use a clothes dryer. Use clothes drying racks, hangers on shower rod, and outside clotheslines. 4. For light fixtures that use more than 1 light bulb, remove all except one. 5. Unplug as many “vampire” items as possible. These are things that use electricity even when off…microwave clock, tvs, clock radios, phone chargers. 6. Turn lights off when you leave the room. Also, don’t automatically turn lights on when you enter a room if you don’t really need them. Open the curtains so natural light can be used during the day. Watch TV in the dark for a theater experience. 7. Put a timer on a stand-alone freezer. They can keep things frozen running for 12 hours on and 12 hours off . Even having it off for 4-8 hours overnight will help. 8. If you are cooking with an electric stove, don’t wait until an item is done cooking to turn off the burner or oven. The heat remains for a few minutes so you can turn it off as the item is finishing up. 9. Instead of turning lights on in the middle of the night, use motion control nightlights. 10. Put outside lights on a timer or motion sensor. 11. Use outdoor solar lights for indoor evening lighting and bathroom night lights etc.. Just put them where they can recharge during the day in front of a bright window or outside. These work well for a power outage too! 12. Be sure heating and air conditioning temperatures are not set to extremes. Try to tolerate a few degrees cooler in winter and a few degrees warmer in the summer. Get a programmable thermostat so you can have the temp adjust to your needs right before you get home.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


     I love lists, they help me organize everything. I have daily lists, weekly lists, monthly lists and categorized lists. I have a 3 ring binder labeled LISTS with index tabs to keep things categorized. I have found that by having my lists organized in a binder, I am able to keep many more things organized. I can open it and add things instantly. Some are good for short term organizing, and some are good to use for things such as keeping track of important information for yourself or others. Your lists will vary depending on your lifestyle. If you have several children your lists will be different than if you are a single woman in the corporate world. Just consider all of your life situations and think about whether you can make a list with that information. The list can be on paper or stored electronically to be accessed from your phone or computer. There are websites that help you develop and store lists. If you would like to start keeping lists, here are some ideas of lists to use.
1. Grocery
2. Daily “To do” for home and work
3. Ideas
4. Goals
5. People and contact information.
6. Passwords (be careful with this one, but they should be compiled somewhere)
7. Medications
8. Projects
9. Accounts
10. List of important documents and their location.
11. Inventories of your collections
12. Medical information of everyone in the family
13. Vegetables to include in garden.
14. Home repairs needing attention
15. Tax information lists
16. Things you want to buy
17. Movies to see
18. Books to read
19. Things to do before you die
20. List of lists……

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Save Money On Food After You Buy It

Some of the best ways to save money on food are to use coupons, buy store brand items, join wholesale clubs or grow your own.  If you are careful to save money when you buy your groceries, that is a great start. It is just as important to be sure you literally do not throw this savings away. I am reminded of the commercial for plastic wrap where the woman tells the butcher that she wants two pounds of meat, but he can just throw half away. I am very conscious about not wasting food. I freeze most things that I can and take them out within the hour I need them. With the invention of the microwave, we are not held to our Grandmother's old ways of having to thaw things for a day before they can be cooked. Freezing allows you to take advantage of sales on meat. Another way to save is to make smaller portions so there is less leftover food with a meal. If you do have leftovers, make sure you save them and eat them! If you don't want them the next day, you can freeze them for another day. I save even a tiny portion of anything. It is fun to have a leftover night once each week and just put everything out like a buffet. Whatever is leftover from this night can then be frozen. It is not uncommon for us to have a mixture of leftover chicken, vegetables, taco fixings, ziti, meatloaf and fresh veggies. That sounds like a buffet to me!  We also have a huge garden and we raise chickens for eggs and meat. I love the idea of providing fresh produce for our family. We save a lot of money this way.  Any of the fruit and vegetable scraps we have from preparing food go to our huge compost pile that the chickens like to snack on. The compost then provides nutrients for the next year's garden. If any food goes to waste here, I cringe. I make it a personal challenge to try not to let any food go to waste. Try this challenge for yourself.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Simplify Your Internet Profile

One day my son told me that he Googled himself and he found way too many pictures. That made me start to wonder about just how much information was out there about me and my family. I realized that through my blogs, facebook, twitter, etsy, artfire, flickr, etc. I have been putting our name and pictures out there in a lot of different places. I decided to reign that in a little and I deleted all of the pictures that were no longer needed. I am more choosy about the ones I post.  As I was deleting pictures from places they didn't need to be, I also took the opportunity to check privacy settings on Facebook. I have gone to several sites that I no longer use and unsubscribed or cancelled membership. Recent news about how employers are using Facebook and Google to gain information also made me realize that we should be very careful about our Internet Profile.  Take the time and think about how much you are putting out there about yourself and family. Google each member of your family and go to those sites to see if you can eliminate some of the public ability to find out too much.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Holiday Decoration Sort

Happy Easter! Today is a perfect day to start a project that will take a full year. Starting with this holiday, you can do a complete sort of your Easter decorations as you put them away. This exercise in organization is also for the purpose of simplifying the category of Holiday Decorations. It is easy to discover that you are on the verge of hoarding after many years of collecting decorations. The ages of your children or your interest in the holiday will be factors in the size of your holiday decoration collections. I have huge boxes of Halloween decorations because my son likes to decorate an area of the yard as a spooky graveyard. I have sorted and eliminated Christmas decorations as my son has aged. I no longer get as over-the-top with decorations as I used to when my son was small. I save sentimental things, but I am careful not to place everything in the sentimental category. I have already done this sort with several holidays. I also use the large colored bins that are usually available all year, but are plentiful around each holiday. This makes it easy to know which boxes contain which holiday items. Green and red for Christmas, orange for Halloween, pastel for Easter etc. I have found this works better than a label for ease of locating. You should try to eliminate at least ten items from each holiday stash and get things more organized for next year. If you tend to buy certain holiday items each year such as wrapping paper or egg coloring kits, be sure to buy what you need for next year right after each holiday. Things are on clearance and are much less expensive than right before the holiday next year.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Organize For Your Death

This week my mother’s younger sister passed away at the age of 66. It made me realize that if something were to happen to me, my information is not organized for anyone except me. Think of all the areas of your life that you are the only one with the knowledge. Take time over the next few weeks and months to get everything organized into a file or notebook that you share with several trusted family members or a friend. In the event of your untimely death, will someone be able to take over everything you do? You should not be the ONLY one who knows anything (unless it‘s a secret you are planning to take to the grave). Compile the information and share where you keep it. Keep it in a secure place. This is not intended to be a complete source for a thief. Don’t only share it with your spouse in the event you are together at the end. While you are doing this, it would also be a great time to be sure you have a will and plans in place for arrangements after you pass. Below is a start to a list of the information that should be organized into a handy reference for your loved ones to take care of your accounts and other things after you are gone. It will be hard enough for them to have lost you, make it easy for them to take care of your business and personal matters once you have passed.
Short list of things to organize: passwords; online accounts; memberships; subscriptions; bills for utilities; credit cards; insurances; financial information from banking to 401K to stocks etc.; addresses and phone numbers of all connections such as doctors, business connections, insurance agents, lawyers, friends, relatives; work information; and anything else you can think of.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Computer Clean Up

I know that many people use their computer for months or years and never clean it out or back up important documents and photos. Take the time to do this…you will have a better running computer and have the peace of mind that you won’t lose your information in the event your computer crashes. For photos, you can back up to discs, print them, back up to memory cards or upload to sites that can store them for you. I also suggest that if they are backed up to a disc, you do it twice and store the second copy at a different address for safety from fire, theft or other disaster. Back-up documents by printing a hard copy or saving to disc. If you have two computers, make duplicates onto both of your computers. I have sent e-mails to myself or family that contain attachments of photos or other important things that I want to be sure are backed up. Clear your browsing history and cookies weekly or even daily. (If you do not know what cookies are as related to computers, then I am sure you have never cleaned them out). Organize your computer once in a while as well. Get rid of favorite sites that are no longer needed, delete documents and programs you don’t need. You should also keep your email accounts cleaned out. If you have information and photos on your smart phone, you need to do a back up of those as well. It is better to take the time now to save your things than to regret it when you lose them later. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Back up what you need and get rid of what you don’t.